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Rubio: I Will Reject Cuba's 'Illegitimate' Government If Elected

Rubio: I Will Reject Cuba's 'Illegitimate' Government If Elected
(Wire services)

By    |   Friday, 14 August 2015 12:58 PM

Sen. Marco Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants, said Friday that if he is elected president, he will not recognize Cuba's "illegitimate government" and the newly restored diplomatic relationship with the nearby communist stronghold would come to an end.

"We have an existing law that governs our relationship with Cuba, the Cuban Democracy Act," the Florida Republican told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" show. 

Story continues below video.

"It says in order for U.S. policy to change, Cuba must make changes, too. As president, I would enforce that law that requires reciprocal changes in Cuba. I would not recognize an illegitimate government."

Not only that, he said, but the flag that was restored for the first time over the American embassy would come down, as the building would remain but no longer have the title of embassy.

"An embassy is reserved for countries we have diplomatic relationships with," said the senator and GOP presidential candidate. "We shouldn't have diplomatic relationships with an anti-American, communist dictatorship that oppresses its own people and harbors fugitives from American justice, like a cop killer from New Jersey." 

"We shouldn't have diplomatic relations with a government that gives the Russians and Chinese a base of operations to spy electronically against us."

Also Friday, in a blistering speech to the conservative-leaning Foreign Policy Initiative in New York, Rubio said President Barack Obama has made no efforts "to stand on the side of freedom."

"He has been quick to deal with the oppressors, but slow to deal with the oppressed," the senator said, "and his excuses are paper-thin."

On the Fox program, Rubio was angry that no Cuban dissidents were invited to witness the raising of the flag at the embassy. The ceremonies included Secretary of State John Kerry and three Marines who brought down the flag in Havana in 1961, when the United States ended its diplomatic relationship with Cuba.

"You know who's not going to be there?" said Rubio. "All the people in Cuba fighting for freedom and democracy. When they protest they are rounded up, arrested and beaten. None of them were invited to this event.

"When they raised the Cuban flag in Washington there were a bunch of people shouting viva Fidel. When it comes to the flag raising in Havana, not a single dissident, not a single person who opposes Castro in Havana, was invited."

That's because while the United States is opening relations with Cuba, the island nation "is not going to open up to us, to their own people, to the world," Rubio said. "It's a one-sided deal and that's why it's such a bad idea."

And even after 50 years, the relations between the United States and the Castro regime have not gotten better, said Rubio.

"Two days ago, Fidel Castro or someone writing in his name published this article where he wrote the United States must now pay Cuba millions of dollars in reparations," said Rubio. "That's absurd. The signal he sends the Cuban people, it's great the American flag is flying over here but don't expect any changes. We are still anti-American and we are still a dictatorship."

And to Cuban exiles, like his mother, who is now 85 years old, Obama's decision to normalize relations with Cuba represents a loss, not a win, Rubio said.

"For a lot of people in the historic exile community, not able to go back in the case of my parents, it's a bitter moment," said Rubio. "Nothing's changed. It's like the United States surrendered, and Castro gets to stay.

"We are changing toward Cuba, but Cuba is not changing toward us and it's not changing toward its people. It feels totally one-sided. It feels like we are accepting [this but] the Cuban people will have to live under a repressive government."

Also on Friday, Rubio spoke out against the nuclear deal with Iran, saying the approach he would take with the country would be much different.

"We would reimpose sanctions on Iran; it's existing law," he said. "Not only would we impose sanctions, we would increase them. The choice for Iran would be very simple; as long as you are enriching uranium, we will have sanctions on your economy that will cost you billions of dollars. And if you try to build a weapon, we will hit you militarily. That's the only option until Iran comes to its senses or its leadership is replaced."

Rubio is predicting that there will be enough votes in the House and Senate to vote against the deal, but he's not sure if there will be enough to override a likely Obama veto.

He praised New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer's decision to oppose the bill, saying he chose "to be a statesman instead of a partisan."

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Sen. Marco Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants, said Friday that if he is elected president, he will not recognize Cuba's "illegitimate government" and the newly restored diplomatic relationship with the nearby communist stronghold would come to an end.
Marco Rubio, cuba, government, community, parents
Friday, 14 August 2015 12:58 PM
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